April 21, 2010

How to Avoid Sudden Curve Clipping Death

I'm a little nutty about good sewing techniques. When I find a really good one, I want to shout it from the rooftops and let everyone know that the secret to such and such is doing this. It's very fortunate that I have you, dear readers, to tell all these things to as shouting on rooftops is a little looney. Let's have a small trip down memory lane before I let you in on this HUGE secret.



I'm a mostly self-taught seamstress. My grandma and aunt sew and my mom would sew for herself and my sis and me here and  there as we were growing up. I took 2 sewing classes in high school and though I was interested in fashion and sewing, I left everything else behind as I went on to college to get a music degree. The year I completely finished my degree, my parents gave me a sewing machine for Christmas. Strangely I didn't take the sewing machine out of its box for six months. After that, well, the rest is history. I've become completely obsessed. I love to sew. I really really do. Being self-taught, I rely on myself to a certain extent but also books. I recently purchased The Sewing Bible by Ruth Singer. The best part is that Ruth herself is a self taught seamstress too! That's pretty cool I would say.



I was reading through a few things one day and stumbled on the correct way to clip curves. You know when a pattern tells you to clip the curves to allow the curved seam to lay flat and create a more natural line. Inevitably when I would do this, you could see exactly where I had clipped the dern curve. It was not pretty. It looks very unprofessional. Very. It looks especially bad on the jacket collar as seen in Exhibit A. Please note that the "indent" if you will, is right where I clipped the curve. So, what do you do?



Well instead of clipping head on into the curve, take one edge of the seam allowance and clip a slanted clip approximately every inch. Now take the opposite seam allowance and clip a slanted clip the opposite direction of the opposing seam allowance's clips and in between the opposing seam allowances clips. And there you have it folks, avoiding sudden curve clipping death. You may now go forth with confidence that you will never again have curve clipping indents. Ruth Singer, you are a genius!
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19 comments

  1. Genius! I've been dithering on getting this book, but this seals it. Thank you.

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  2. This is an OMG idea. It makes perfect sense. I've sewn for 45 years. Something new to learn everyday.
    MaryEllen
    Windsor, CT

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  3. Thank you, Cupcake Goddess. So simple but one of those things that you can't know until you know, if you get my drift. Thanks for sharing!

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  4. This is great. Another way of achieving the same result is to cut the fabric in the bias. Take a look at a tie: it is cut diagonally in a square of silk, because when the threads are in diagonal instead of being vertical or horizontal ("coupées dans le biais" / bias), the fabric will fold around neatly, with minimum creasing. You can get rid of many unwanted creases by shifting the angle of the woven threads in a fabric (not necessarily by 45 degrees). This is how the Haute Couture seamstresses obtains fabulous drapery effects. This is also why there is such a thing as bias cut ribbons, which are helpful at the back of button holes or for piping.
    http://davidikus.blogspot.com
    PS. Here is a definition that might be helpful:
    A true bias exists when the line is forty-five degrees in angle from the lower left-hand corner of the goods to the upper right-hand corner of the material. Undergarments are cut on the true bias to forestall sagging, rolling and twisting, and to afford better wear to the consumer. Binding cut on the true bias can be easily applied, particularly on edges which are curved.

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  5. Oh my god this is brilliant! Just when I think I know everything there is about sewing, I learn something new. I will definitely be using this technique from now on!
    Thanks so much for sharing your tips :)

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  6. I thought this was going to be about clipping all the way through the seam. I've done that.

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  7. Aha! I will try this one my next clipping. :) Thanks!

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  8. I've never tried a slant slit before but I do stagger my clips when I do them. But will most definitely try this one out

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  9. I do this (read about it in an old 1940s sewing manual.) I hate to clip though - I have terminal fear of clipping too far, as I have done many times, and I clip the least amount possible to get whatever I'm making to work! I also use pinking shears sometimes (on finished seams only) to make the seam allowances invisible from the outside rather than grading (I hate grading!)

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  10. It really is a great book and has great perspective from a self taught seamstress. I really love that!

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  11. This is simply fabulous! I love that you've been sewing for so long. And yet, it seems there are still more and more techniques and better ways to do things popping up all the time. I love that about sewing. This is getting me WAY excited.

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  12. Oh thank you so much for the tips and bias cut ideas. I'm definitely going to give this a try and see where I can incorporate this next.

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  13. So clever-this is a wonderful clipping tip! I'm bookmarking it!
    Jana

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  14. I've never seen that before - will try! I took one class in college and they taught to trim the seam allowance very small instead of clipping (trusting that the curve means there is change of grain direction, therefore will not ravel. I wouldn't dare it on loosely woven fabrics, though; this staggered slant cut sounds much safer for that.
    Just found your blog through MPB and love it!

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  15. Thank you for this! Most of my curves turn out less than perfect. Can't wait to give this trick a try.

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  16. HO! Thank you for the tip!!!
    I had no idea that's what they meant by "clipping the curves". Now I have no more excuses for not clipping!

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  17. I tried this last night on a Sencha blouse, and it worked like a dream. Thanks so much for sharing!

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  18. Genius! Thanks a lot lot lot for posting another great tip! I tried this out with my latest jacket and it works like a charm. It looks so neat and tidy, absolutely unbelievable.
    I also tried out the broad shoulder adjustment you posted about earlier, but haven't yet set in the sleeves. I am very very excited about how it is going to fit, even though a stretchier fabric probably has never been used for a jacket, so the change might not be very noticeable.

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  19. Oo, this looks like a great technique! It looks like it will prevent me from accidentily clipping too far too! Ok, off to sharpen my little snippy scissors!

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